Cricket is often regarded as the batsman’s game. On seldom occasions, bowlers tend to have the upper hand despite shorter boundaries and large-sized bats which aid to make life easier for the batsman. However, many fast bowlers in the past have made their mark with a few of their weapons, namely pace, swing, and bounce. While pace for most batters these days is not a huge concern, still a few tearaways fast bowlers have managed to rattle teams with their speed coupled with accuracy. In this article, we will talk about some of the fastest bowlers in cricket history.
Shane Bond was a fast, destructive, and fearsome pace bowler for New Zealand. In a career marred with injuries, Bond struggled with his longevity in the game. The Kiwi was world-renowned for his brutal pace and the sheer comfort at which he nailed the perfect yorkers to the batsmen.
Toe-crushing yorkers were his speciality and he feasted on the best batsmen of his era. To be specific, he will always be remembered to claim Ricky Ponting’s wicket in all of the first six ODI’s they played against one another.
Mohammad Sami is the 2nd fastest bowler for Pakistan in their cricket history. Known for his pace and swing, Sami has unofficially bowled the fastest delivery in cricket at a speed of 164 km/h (101.9 mph) during an ODI. However, it was later identified as a fault in the speed meter by the cricket officials. Sami did deliver his fastest ball clocked at 156.4 km/hr against Zimbabwe in the ODI series of 2003. Sami took 85 Test wickets and 121 ODI wickets during his bowling career for Pakistan.
Mitchell Johnson was undoubtedly one of the most destructive pacers in the world. The Aussie, at his best, was as fearsome as fast bowlers may come. During his prime, he was a runaway match-winner for Australia. The left-arm quick bowled his fastest delivery in the 2013 Ashes at MCG clocking 156.8 km/hr. The seamer did a stupendous job with the ball against England & South Africa with his speed and aggression.
The West Indian pace bowler Fidel Edwards made his debut in 2003. His burst onto the scene was marked with much hype touting him as one of the fastest bowlers in the world. Fidel bowled his fastest delivery against South Africa where the Caribbean speedster clocked 157.7 km/hr. He had a very round-arm action and was often regarded as one of the toughest bowlers to pick from the hand.
Andy Roberts was part of the legendary West Indian quartet during the late 1970s and the early 80s. His fastest delivery of 159.5 km/hr came against Australia in Perth in the year 1975.
Roberts was the first Antiguan who represented West Indies at the international level. He was part of the West Indies World Cup Winning squad in 1975 and 1979. The pace bowler picked a total of 202 Test wickets and 87 ODI wickets during his playing career for the West Indies.
Mitchell Starc is part of the elite list of left-arm bowlers to have played the game at the highest level. The Australian pacer was the highest wicket-taker in two consecutive 50-over World Cups in 2015 and 2019. The speedster bowled his fastest delivery at 160.4 km/hr in a Test match against New Zealand at Perth.
Jeff Thomson was a dreadful sight for any batter during his prime. The former Australian made life miserable for most batters during his tenure as an Australian cricketer.
He instilled fear in the minds of the opposition with his sheer pace coupled with enormous consistency. He delivered his fastest delivery at a speed of 160.6 km/hr against the West Indies at Perth in 1975.
Partnering with Dennis Lillee, Thomson would make for the most fearsome fast-bowling duo during the 1974-75 season. He took 200 Test wickets and 55 ODI wickets between 1972 to 1985.
With a muscular and beefy build with broad shoulders and a slinging action that complemented the short run-up, Shaun Tait had made it to the big leagues.
Known for his erratic bowling, Shaun Tait didn’t witness enough success at the international level for Australia. However, he was one of the quickest bowlers during the 2010s. He could only play three Tests and 35 ODIs for Australia between 2004 and 2016.
Brett Lee was the fastest Australian bowler in history and the second-fastest bowler of all time. The New South Wales player had a formidable Australian line-up during the early 2000s.
He was a regular feature along with the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. Apart from his accuracy, his menacing pace troubled most batters against him.
Known as the ‘Rawalpindi Express’, Shoaib Akhtar is the fastest bowler in the world of cricket. He had a runup like no other, wherein he often ran from the boundary line and bowled his delivery.
Shoaib Akhtar had a natural pace and bounce with the help of his slinging action which was complemented tremendously by his beefy build.